Press Release

Statement by Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers, On President Obama’s Effort To Recruit 10,000 New Science and Math Teachers

For Release: 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Contact:

Tom Lansworth
202/393-6351
tlanswor@aft.org

WASHINGTON—President Obama’s goal to recruit 10,000 new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers over the next two years is an important step toward preparing students to enter the global knowledge economy.

The effort announced today recommends many of the teacher supports that the AFT has championed: mentors for new teachers, continuing professional development, collaboration and teamwork, and excellent classroom materials that relate to clear curricular standards. As the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has noted, there are too few science, technology, engineering and math teachers in classrooms because of a lack of professional respect for teaching, inconsistent preparation and the salary disparity between teaching and other STEM-related professions.

Any good recruitment and retention effort, including this new STEM program, must be implemented carefully and developed at the local school-district level—with teachers and administrators working together to get the details right for their students and to ensure that it recognizes and encourages all teachers.

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.